During the project time BERAS Implementation will host five conferences with different themes. Programmes and presentations made at the conferences are available below.
BERAS Implementation Opening Conference was held in Helsinki 2 December 2010. The conference marked the start-up for our project work, and among other events the Project Steering Committee was established, work groups were formed and had their first meetings.
The following presentations were made
Professor Sirpa Kurppa, MTT Agrifood Research, Finland
Pekka Haavisto, member of the Finnish Parliament (former Finnish Minister for Environment and Development)
Presentation of Helsinki Commission
Kaj Granholm, HELCOM & Baltic Compass
Project background and specific problems to be addressed
Artur Granstedt, Project Coordinator BERAS Implementation
Work plan and related Main Outputs
- WP1 Project Management and Administration – general
Jostein Hertwig, Assistant Project Coordinator
- WP1 Project Management and Administration – financial aspects
Hans von Essen, Financial Manager
- WP2 Communication and Information
Sampsa Heinonen, Communication Manager
- WP3 Conversion of farms and Practical guidelines
Karin Stein-Bachinger, Lead WP3
- WP4 Environmental, Economic and Social Assessment and Scenarios
Pentti Seuri, Lead WP4
- WP5 BERAS Implementation Centers and Networks
Maria Staniszewska, Lead WP5/Arunas Svitojus, Mobile BIC
International conference on Sustainable Food Societies
Our second conference was held in Järna, Sweden, 24-27 May 2011. The main topic of the conference was developing Sustainable Food Societies (BERAS Implementation Centres).
We had one full day of lectures and seminars, and one day of excursions to some of the many examples of ERA farms, small scale food processing, distributors, restaurants, shops and school canteens which profile local and organic food located in Södertälje municipality.
The moderator was Annika Åhnberg and the lectures ranged from Planetary Boundaries to more particular challenges for the agricultural and food sectors.
Presentations made at the conference:
Gabriella Lindholm, ambassador for the Marine Environment, Swedish Ministry of Environment, and Chairlady of the Helsinki Commission "Governmental efforts to save the Baltic Sea Environment"
Patrick Holden, CBE, director of Sustainable Food Trust: “The challenges of the agricultural sector and the need for systemic shift to sustainable food practices” (No written presentation.)
Artur Granstedt associate prof. Södertörn University, project coordinator for BERAS Implementation: BERAS project background
Jostein Hertwig, BERAS secretariat Järna: Sustainable Food Societies - the concept I
Maria Staniszewska, Polish Ecological Club in Krakow, City of Gliwice Chapter: Sustainable Food Societies - the concept II
Johan Ununger, CEO, Saltå Kvarn: Diet for a Clean Baltic I private sector
Sara Jervfors, Manager of Diet Unit at Södertälje Municipality: Diet for a Clean Baltic II public sector
Johan Rockström, Executive Director of Stockholm Resilience Centre and Stockholm Environment
Institute: Planetary Boundaries and Sustainable Societies
BERAS Implementation had its third conference on October 26th 2011 in Copenhagen. It was organised by the Danish Ecological Council and its main topic was the concept of Diet for a Clean Baltic. The presentations shown during this conference can be downloaded below.
Session 1: Ecological Recycling Agriculture
Trine Christiansen, Project manager - Marine and maritime assessment, European Environment Agency: What is Europe doing to protect the Baltic Sea?
Artur Granstedt, BERAS, Södertörn University: How do we promote ecological recycling agriculture and local marketing?
Søren Ejlersen, Aarstiderne: Diet for a sustainable future - Matrix model and 80:20
Session 2: Diet and Procurement
Johan Ununger, Salta Kvarn: Save the Baltic Sea, from vision to action!
Monica Sihlén, Miljöstyrningsrådet, Sverige: EU Procurement regulation
Mathias Sylwan, SKL (Sveriges Kommuner och Landsting): EU Procurement regulation – what are the obstacles and how can we overcome these?
Alexandra Hayles, Worldwatch Institute Europe: Cultural change – how do we change the way we consume food?
Session 3: Reforming the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)
Faustine Defossez, European Environmental Bureau: Current development in reform process and how can NGO’s and politicians influence CAP?
Evald Vestergaard, Chairman, Organic Denmark: A radical change of the CAP and a possible development of the organic concept.
Moa Larsson Sundgren, Södertörn University, Sweden: Recommendations to CAP
111026 Beras Moa Larsson Sundgren (124.94 kB)
The Conference was funded by EU Baltic Sea Region Programme 2007-2011, The Danish Fund Promilleafgiftsfonden and EU Nævnet in Denmark.
BERAS Implementations' Riga Conference on Investments and Marketing was held 21-23 March 2012. It brought together more than 150 specialists and interested persons from Germany, Sweden, Finland, Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, Belarus and Latvia. The work was organized in discussions and exchange of experience activities only for specialists and a publicly available conference on the second day where representatives of almost all the above mentioned countries presented.
View the program
Find summaries and presentations below
Organic Agriculture in Latvia and BERAS Implementation project
The conference was opened by a Member of the Board of Latvian Rural Advisory and Training Centre Ltd. Kaspar’s Zurins. He had a presentation about the situation in organic agriculture in Latvia and also briefly told about the project BERAS Implementation of the EU Baltic Sea Regional Program for 2007-2013, within the framework of which nature saving business activities are facilitated in the countries around the Baltic Sea.
Marketing Channels for Organic Products and Product Design - from Farms to Consumers
The Head of the Department of Quality and Environment Protection in Latvian State Institute of Agrarian Economics, Dr.oec. Ligita Melece, told about the food systems in which manufacturing, processing, marketing, sales and also processing of the excess are closely linked. Local organic food is a part of the alternative food system. Although the global system is based only on economics, the emotional factor is also often decisive in the local system, extensive farming is valued higher than intensive and the small producer is more respected than the large producer. Therefore, the consumer is ready to pay more for organic products, which also allows the manufacturers and sellers to produce and profit from such products. Self-sufficient manufacturing of local products not only allows taking care of nature protection but is actually closely connected with the independence and security of the country.
Ludolf von Maltzan (Germany) gave a presentation New ways of presentation, marketing and distribution of farm products. He has developed Brodowin eco-village 65 kilometers away from Berlin. 15 years ago product processing was developed there, as well as its own brand was created to supply milk and dairy products to the shops of Berlin. The business activity was successful and last year the farm was modernized to increase the product packaging volume. The farm has also got involved in the “food basket” program for the neighborhood. However, by itself it produces only 50 out of the totally offered 1200 products, therefore the necessary goods are purchased from other farms in the neighborhood.
Brodowin eco-village has its own internet homepage but it is not enough, therefore advertisements are placed in the press, local TV and radio. But in summer anyone interested is offered the opportunity to visit the farm and see how the agricultural products are manufactured.
The farm has also become involved in nature protection projects. Brodowin informs the buyers of its products about such activities through printing information on the product packaging.
At the end of June Brodowin eco-village festival is held and it gathers about 5-8 thousand visitors. They taste the products, there is a market, music is playing and people can relax in a pleasant atmosphere. The farm cooperates with a famous cook together with whom children can prepare healthy food. The farm also cooperates with a theatre in Berlin that offers educational entertainment programs for children.
Once a year an undertaking is organized when farmers and manufacturers of organic products can meet and discuss actual issues because cooperation is necessary both among themselves and also with wholesalers.
Account Director of the advertising and communication agency Airport Lolita Zujeva gave a presentation Aspects to consider when promoting organic products and their selling places.
Research approves that the opinion that organically manufactured products affect the body more favorably but the purchase of local products facilitates the development of local economics is becoming more popular. The personal contact with the manufacturer who also sells the products is significant in promoting local organic products. Therefore one of the most effective sales and also promotional activities is different markets, and a situation is created when the product sells itself.
There is a tendency observed in the world that previously very ascetic packaging now contains pictures for children, bright colors. One of the most interesting is the experiment to add product seeds to packaging so that when they are sown, grass or flowers grow. Customers are invited to arrive for organic food products with their own baskets, etc.
At present, social networks play an irreplaceable role in promoting organic products as both farmers and customers can find persons who hold the same views there, they can share their experience, offer products, as well as create interest groups, receive feedback.
Lõuna-Eesti Toiduvõrgustik representative and farmer from Tartu vicinity Kaja Kesküla shared experience on how organic product sales through the Internet (www.let.ee) are managed in Estonia. Lõuna-Eesti Toiduvõrgustik was founded in 2006 by seven very small organic farms that wanted to have direct sales. They manage six different functions and actually there are also six separate websites (web system); customers have their own account where they can see information regarding the variety of products, they can order and see a logistics plan how to receive their ordered products and pay bills.
More than 300 persons, as well as 30 enterprises (kindergartens, schools, small shops) and 28 farms are registered in the retail database. The most popular products are: eggs, cheese, cottage cheese, milk and yogurt, vegetables, flour and meat.
Investments at Farm Level and Processing Level
A farm business specialist at LRF Konsult Helle Reeder and a farmer and milk producer Jakob Jurriaanse gave a presentation Investments challenges and opportunities when converting to ERA.
Helle is a business adviser in Jakob’s farm that helps him to develop a project to receive EU support for the development of the farm he rents.
The aim of the project is to study how farm economy is affected during the conversion period. A conversion period is a period when production is reorganized from conventional to organic farming, which usually requires two years.
In Sweden if a farmer takes the risk, he also receives state support but manufacturing should be biologically certified and should comply with the provided requirements for five years.
Starting with the project, specialists developed vegetation and fertilization plans. Winter wheat for sales and lucerne, clover and grass for fodder are sown.
Converting to organic farming, the amount of proteins in cow fodder reduced by approximately 30% because the protein concentrates were not used for feeding anymore. Thus, the average milk yield also reduced by 300 liters but the revenue increased because such milk can be sold as more expensive. The following story of the issue has also been promoted in Sweden: if the state does not support farmers and if the population does not support them either by purchasing the products, the famers will go bankrupt, the rural farms will be liquidated, which with time will also change and deteriorate the rural landscape.
The Head of Swedbank AS Corporate Banking Department Ieva Fatjanova (Latvia) gave a presentation Organic farm's financing aspects from the commercial banks view, indicating that irrespective of the most beneficial attitude, the farmer’s investment should be 10-30%.
The Head of the Department of Economics and Management of Agricultural Production from the Agricultural Advisory Centre in Radom (Poland) Janusz Tomasz Lesisz gave a presentation Investments in small processing of organic products.
Till the end of 2011 the Agricultural Advisory Centre in Radom had trained 2 221 persons, including 767 advisors and 221 farmers through its 68 courses. Having invested more than 200 000 Euro, the Centre has purchased three small sets of processing equipment that would be useful in manufacturing organic products – for milling grain, making and packaging juice, processing meat. In the Centre farmers and producers have the opportunity to acquaint with its operation to make a decision whether to purchase and use it in their own farms. The Polish specialist emphasized that the biggest problem in purchasing such equipment is not funding itself but the administrative burden.
A member of the Board of Estonian Organic Farming Foundation Airi Vatemaa informed on Investments in education of organic farmers in Estonia. She expressed regret that in Estonia there are no curricula in university or vocational education offered, only single subjects, e.g. Basic Principles of Organic Farming, Organic Animal Husbandry, but in other subjects just certain aspects of organic farming are considered. However, farmers are being educated intensively. Mainly those are short two-day courses that are devoted to different topics.
Starting organic farming, two-day training is mandatory for farmers. It offers basic knowledge. If the training is not attended, the financial support for the respective farm is reduced by 3%. Every year the Ministry of Agriculture organizes courses about various topics, in total 40-60. All trainings are free of charge, finansed by the state, only study trips include own contribution.
To promote organic agriculture, different informative materials are published – a quarterly magazine, the internet portal, and enthusiasts have also developed an organic agriculture supporters club on the web.
Investments in Consumer Education
Director of Baltic Foundation Heifer Arunas Svitojus (Lithuania) gave a presentation on BERAS Implementation mobile unit’s (MBIC) tasks in public education. Interested audience had the opportunity to acquaint with the bus that holds various measurement tools, e.g. for testing the soil; laboratory equipment, computer equipment, informative materials a.o. MBIC target groups are farmers, students, producers, entrepreneurs, as well as consumers.
Luomuasiantuntija - senior advisor Luomuliitto ry - Finnish Association for Organic Farming, Miko Rahtola gave a presentation Association role and opportunities in promotion of organic products. The Finnish Association for Organic Farming Luomuliitto ry was founded in 1985 to act as an umbrella organization for producer and other organizations promoting organic agriculture. Now Luomuliitto has 24 member organizations representing about 2000 members. The aim of the Association is to promote how farmers can cooperate and develop organic agriculture. The Association has its consultants that work in the development centers in the regions and special eco-centers that consult cafes about purchasing and use of organic products. Organic food brands have been developed although the common EU symbols are also used.
A program Five steps to an eco-restaurant has been developed. It provides for gradual changing of the menu to using at least 50% of organic products in it.
Miko Rahtola emphasized the big role of media in promoting organic food, but he also admitted that publications in the printed press, interviews with farmers, as well as point-of-sales promotion, markets, visiting organic farms create the largest effect.
Convivium leader of Slow Food Deutschland Georg Schenk admitted that this food preparation system, introduced in Italy in 1989, which was established as an alternative to fast food, has achieved special popularity in Germany. There Slow Food Association advertizes healthy food produced from naturally grown raw materials and processed without using preservatives, colors and other chemical substances. It is exactly knowledge that allows choosing the best food, therefore knowledge should be spread in society and local farmers should be enhanced to produce original products with a possibly high value added. Therefore various promotional activities together with popular cooks, the undertaking Market for good taste a.o. are organized.
Polski Klub Ekologiczny representative Aleksandra Józewicz shared her experience on the topic Changing consumer behavior – role of the NGO. In 2002 PKE Gliwice established non-governmental Information Centre about Organic Agriculture that promotes sustainable agriculture and rural development, a sustainable consumption model, develops information materials and disseminates information between consumers, organizes costless trainings for farmers on organic agriculture, processing and promotion of their products and the logo, organizes trainings for agricultural advisors, organizes conferences, cooperates with parliamentary commissions that have the power to adopt legislation changes in favor of organic agriculture. The Centre has also purchased a truck for the mobile store to deliver ecological food to the consumers.
BERAS Implementation organized a conference Farming for the future – Ecological Recycling Agriculture to save the Baltic Sea in Tallinn 26-27 March 2013. This confernce attracted some 70 participants of different nationalities -advisors, farmers, specialists and researchers. The first and second conference days consisted of presentations concerning sustainability issues in organic farming, with the second day finalizing the conference with three conversion work groups.
Sustainable agriculture to save the Baltic Sea
Airi Vetemaa, Estonian Organic Farming Foundation, Ecological Recycling Agriculture to save the Baltic Sea
Sirli Pehme, Estonia University of Life Science, Environmental impacts of organic production through life cycle
Silver Vahtra, HELCOM, Goals for Sustainable Agriculture in the Baltic Sea Action Plan
Dorota Metera, IFOAM, Challenges and opportunities for the organic movement
Ecological Recycling Agriculture (ERA)
Pentti Seuri, MTT Agrifood Research Finland, Artur Granstedt, Södertörn University, ERA principles and possibilities
Aivar Pikkmets, Mätiku farm, Estonia, Self-sufficiency in practice
Arja Peltomäki, Kankkila farm, Finland, Farms in cooperation
Steps towards a more sustainable agriculture
Peter Einarsson, Policy interventions for sustainable agriculture
Karin Stein-Bachinger, Leibniz-Centre for Rural Agricultural Landscape Research, Guidelines for farmers and advisors for conversion to ERA
Kaspars Žūriņš, Latvian Rural Advisory and Training Centre, Advisors’ trainings for ERA conversion
Sustainable Food Societies
Maria Staniszewska, Polish Ecological Club, Sustainable Food Societies around the Baltic Sea
Sara Jervfors, Södertälje Municipality and Johan Ununger, Saltå Kvarn, Diet for a Clean Baltic
Riina Noodapera, Culinary Heritage Europe, Marketing of local and regional food
How to make organic agriculture more sustainable
Lisa Trolle, Saltå Kvarn
Just following basic organic regulation in practice is not always enough to achieve the full idea behind the organic movement. As an example Saltå kvarn, organic processor and supplier, presents their toolbox for more sustainable organic agriculture. The toolbox contains specific criteria which contribute to the farm's positive environmental impact. The measures are related to the principles of Ecological Recycling Agriculture and to the concept developed by the Stockholm Resilience Centre, called the Planetary Boundaries. By meeting the measures the farmer adapts his/her activities to what the Baltic Sea and the planet can withstand. The workshop offers concrete steps for farmers towards a more sustainable agriculture. It also invites participants to discuss what we need in addition to organic regulations and in what directions organic rules should develop to secure sustainability for the environment and viability for organic producers, processors and distributors.
Conversion to sustainable agriculture
Wijnand Koker, Hermann Leggedor and Kaspars Žūriņš
A fully developed ecological recycling farm creatively combines ecological, economic and social sustainability to a win-win functioning unit with the help of good cooperation with consumers and food chain actors. But how do we reach that when the starting point is more or less far from this ideal and seemingly overwhelming obstacles lie in the way? This workshop invites advisors, but also other stakeholders who want to learn more about the Ecological Recycling Agriculture conversion process. In the workshop we discuss the steps from first contact with the farmer, analysis, rough sketch, decision to convert, first steps and support during conversion process.
Building sustainable food societies
How can the whole food chain, from farmer to consumer, be organized to contribute to environmental, economic and social sustainability? To convert to a sustainable food production we need not only organic farmers, but also that their organic products are demanded by consumers. Consumers need knowledge about and access to organic products. The processing and distribution therefore need to be organized in a way that makes organic farming profitable and the organic choice attractive to the consumers. Which roles can producers, processors, distributers, public kitchens, restaurants and tourism, authorities, certifying bodies, individual consumers and associations play when connecting all actors into well functioning networks? The workshop gives examples of how sustainable food societies can work. It also encourages the participants to bring their own experiences of obstacles and possibilities to the discussion on how we can cooperate to strengthen local and regional organic networks. All actors from farmer to consumer are invited to take part.